Earth Demands Steady State Economy

Earth Day
Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Today is about bringing awareness to others about the negative impacts humans have on our environment. This is the very same environment that gives us air to breath, water to drink and food to eat. This environment sustains human life and, therefore, is just as valuable as human life because of it.

A leading cause in our society to allow destruction of our environment is growth. We will do anything to feed that monkey, even if it costs us our forests, rivers, food-producing soils, and fresh air. So long as the economy is growing, we are okay with this destruction (there are some exceptions). This is one major reason why we must stop our addiction to growth and turn to a steady state economy.

Harm to Our Planet is Harm to Us.

This planet we call “earth” is the only thing that stands between us and the ice-cold vacuum of space, harsh solar radiation, and death. On Earth we live because the ecosystem feeds us, provides us with materials for shelter, gives us water to drink, and oxygen to breathe. Since the industrialization of our society we have begun to cause irreversible damage to this system that sustains our life. We cannot destroy the earth, but we can destroy it’s ability to sustain our own lives.

We are just a blink in the eye of a spec of a bit of dust in the history of our planet. When we are long gone, it will remain. If we continue to destroy the environment causing our own extinction, the planet will eventually regenerate – without us. So are we really saving the planet, or saving ourselves?

The Human Movement.

The environmental movement should really be considered a humanity movement, because humans are who are really being saved. Let’s join in on a human movement! Connect with people in your area to celebrate the benefits of a clean environment – fresh air, clean water, healthy trees, green foliage (stop and smell those flowers, already!), and happy people.

It’s the official Earth Day today, but it is really earth day everyday – you never leave. Take time out of your busy schedule and help make the life-sustaining environment better:

The Steady State Economy = Happy Planet = Happy People

GDP does not account for negatives

Our current economy (founded in neoclassical economic theory) functions to perpetuate growth of GDP. However, GDP is only the amount transacted in the economy (both profit and loss increase this number). It does not take into account environmental impacts. It does not take into account a lot of things that it should really consider. It’s just a number, really, no true significance behind it or means to compare it to anything real.

The steady state economy is part of the field of ecological economics. Let’s take that apart real quick: “Eco” means earth or environment and “Logical” means it makes sense. So, ecological economics is economics that makes sense with the environment. If you’ve ever taken an economics course you know that just adding a bit of logic to the subject is a major step forward – let alone taking into consideration the economy’s impacts on the environment.

Supporting a steady state economy will drastically change our impact on the environment by changing our focus from money to meaning, growth to development. The steady state economy would require some form of GPI, national happiness index, or similar metric that accounts for both negatives and positives in the equation. For instance, this metric would include oil spills as negative, not positive (like GDP does).

Once we are using a better economic model, based on such a metric, we will inherently stop damaging the environment. This change will not happen immediately, but accounting for the environment in our ideas of progress will likely save our lives and provide a clean, life-sustaining environment for our children. (On a personal note, my son is one month old today – one earth day!)